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Governor McDonnell Announces Matching Tourism Grants - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Governor McDonnell Announces Matching Tourism Grants

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Office of Governor Bob McDonnell Press Release

RICHMOND - Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that more than $750,000 in matching grant funds will be awarded to 42 local tourism initiatives as part of Virginia Tourism Corporation's (VTC) Marketing Leverage Grant program. The grants are designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging local marketing dollars, and will ultimately impact at least 184 other statewide tourism entities. The local organizations match the state grant funds by a minimum of 2:1 in order to support marketing projects. This funding cycle, the local partners will match the VTC grant dollars with nearly $3 million, providing nearly $4 million total in new marketing to increase visitation to Virginia.

"These grants are an important tool that will enable our localities to more effectively market themselves to potential visitors," said Governor McDonnell. "More visitors in Virginia mean greater tax revenue, a better business environment, and more good jobs for Virginians."

Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2012 tourism generated $21.2 billion in revenue, supported 210,000 jobs and provided $1.36 billion in state and local taxes. Dollars invested in tourism are proven to provide a 5:1 return in tax revenue for Virginia, and the grant awards and matching funds provide a stimulus to localities seeking to increase tourism visitation and revenue.

VTC's Marketing Leverage Program is designed to increase visitor spending by leveraging limited marketing dollars, stimulating new tourism marketing through partnerships, and extending the "Virginia is for Lovers" brand. A minimum of three Virginia entities must partner financially to apply for a grant. Partners may consist of Virginia cities, towns, counties, convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, other local or regional destination marketing organizations, private businesses, museums, attractions, cultural events, and other not-for-profit entities. In total, VTC awards approximately $1.7 million annually - matched and leveraged on average 3:1 by partner dollars - to more than 80 communities across the Commonwealth.

"These grants enable local tourism partners to pursue projects that might otherwise be beyond their budget," said Rita McClenny, president and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation. "The Marketing Leverage Grants program is a powerful tool in helping to support and grow a robust economy in Virginia. Our local partners are working on amazing projects and campaigns that will help to beautify communities, bring more visitors to Virginia, and create even more outstanding tourism products that visitors will continue to fall in love with year after year."

Details on the grant awards are here. The next round of VTC Marketing Leverage Program grants will open in spring 2014. Localities interested in applying may visit www.vatc.org for more information.

Love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Visit www.Virginia.org to start planning a vacation or call 1-800-VISITVA to request a free, Virginia is for Lovers travel guide.

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